Feb9MonFebruary 9, 2015
Dr. James Boyd
In the midst of life's struggles, it is all too easy to turn one's focus to one's own pain and to forget the ultimate purpose of life. As such, following Paul's discussion of the human weakness that God desires to use to reveal His extraordinary power, he takes the opportunity in 2 Cor. 4:15 to remind the Corinthians of the goal of every believer, which is particularly significant for Christian parents.
15 Indeed, everything is for your benefit, so that grace, extended through more and more people, may cause thanksgiving to increase to God’s glory. 2 Corinthians 4:15 (HCSB)
The first thing Paul says is that "all this is for you." The phrase "all this" likely refers back to verses7-11 in which Paul shares how his own weakness is the stuff through which God reveals His power and life. This is why Paul's suffering is "for their benefit." How did Paul’s spiritual children benefit? Paul endured by the power and life of God which "extended grace" to more and more people, that is, to many of the Corinthians. When parents go through struggles with their teens, it ought to be viewed as an opportunity to show the power and life of God so that God's grace will be "extended" to many others. The spread of grace to those around produces the fruit of thankfulness. Not just a little thankfulness, but an overflowing abundance of thankfulness.
So God gives the "knowledge of God's glory in the face of Jesus Christ (4:6)" to frail humans in order to reveal his power and life so that His grace will spread, producing thanksgiving. Parents, then, must work to spread God's grace to the many in their families. What does this look like? When parents struggle with their teens, the teens must see how parents respond graciously. Parents must discipline as God would discipline. The initial goal, then, is to enable the teen to be at peace with God, to know God's favor which leads to a thankful heart, which is often absent during the teenage years.
Yet, the spread of grace unto thanksgiving is still not the ultimate goal. Paul's final phrase "to the glory of God" is the key. Every act of parenting, every struggle, and every conflict ought to be an opportunity for God to reveal his power and life through the parent to the teen so that God's grace will be extended to the teen, producing a thankful heart, and this is not for the goal of peace in the family, but for the glory of God. Familial peace is a fruit. The declaration of the greatness of God is the goal. How successfully do you allow God to use your weakness to show his power and life? How does your parenting spread God's grace to your teen? Is God made to look as great as He is by your teens thankfulness for God's grace?